Wednesday, June 27

little spun cotton baby bird...

this week at my art group we are making spun cotton ornaments....
yipee, i have been dying to learn how and our friend Cheryl Burton is going to teach the class.

i have made a few attempts so far but there are so many variables~
what to use for the armature--plain wire, wrapped or coated wire, pipe cleaners
what kind of cotton to use--loose cotton, medical cotton, cotton roving, cotton balls
what to hold it together with--spray starch, liquid starch, watered down glue mixture

barn door pjs with little buttons
it will be very helpful to learn what really works!  this little guy was just made with cotton balls from Walmart if you can believe it.  he is a bit chunky but i am figuring out a few things as i go.

kitten was a bit harder to photograph as her tail sticks out weird making her so i can't lean her up against the paper.  she is made with a cotton roving and has a much smoother finish.

here are a few figures waiting for paint and decoration.  the bunny has some artificial eyes that might work out, don't know yet.  the bear needs some sort of nose, i'll have to add something on...
and the owl/wild things creature has cool feet but is pretty squishy, not enough cotton for
his figure. 

there is a 2 day drying time i think for the figures so i will be posting next week what we made at art group.

if anyone has any suggestions, ideas, or experience making spun cotton figures please email me, i would LOVE to know!

happy wednesday, julie

Thursday, June 21

the wreckage...

i'm having trouble dealing with the wreckage...

i had all my spring and easter projects all loaded up in this silver picnic tote along with my spring paints.  i never got around to painting all the pieces at easter time so they have been just sitting here and there.  it was easy to pick up and move the whole batch with the little cut out handles.

the whole thing was sitting on the end of a table that i tried to drag down the hall.  a corner of the caddy caught the wall and everything fell.  most of the little bunny and chick pots broke, even the ones i had finished.  it looked like plaster carnage all over the floor.  what a mess.

 i am not sure what the moral of this story is yet.  finish what you started, don't leave things lying around, stop trying to drag tables down the hall....

there were a few little pots left mostly undamaged that i am finishing tonight.  maybe that will make me feel better.

Wednesday, June 6

hand dyed embroidery floss tutorial...

i am finally finished with school, my daughter is graduated, and summer has arrived.
welcome june and sitting by the pool, traveling in the car, and enjoying a cool summer evening. what i need is a little traveling sewing kit to tuck in my purse at a moments notice. it all started with this bag of horrible embroidery floss i bought at the thrift store for $3.99. this mess was tucked in an old Bucilla embroidery kit. usually i would just pass on that nightmare but there were a couple of vintage thread skeins in colors i just loved... so i bought the bag and decided before i threw the 'uglies' away i would give them a second chance. warning~ hideous before photo~

i had a bowl of coffee on the counter i was using to dye some fabric pieces so i experimented a bit. a more concentrated coffee or tea will create a deeper color, a watered down mixture gives you just a hint of color.

i use gloves to protect my hands from the dye (bad experience in the past) they actually work really well. i wrapped the floss around my fingers and dipped it in the dye bath. after working the dye in the threads i squeezed out the extra liquid and blotted it with a paper towel. to heat set the dye i placed the floss on a paper towel and microwaved it until it was dry.

check your samples every 20 seconds or so to avoid overcooking them. i really liked almost every color.

the rest of the awful thread mess i just threw in the dye, labels and all. i left that bunch a while to soak. i squeezed out the extra dye and placed in on the counter. the darker colors were mostly unchanged, a few were still so awful i just tossed them out. but surprisingly after i microwaved the rest i was thrilled! biggest surprises were the variegated threads, they will be so fun to sew with. ~after photo~
 all wrapped up pretty and tucked in my traveling sewing kit.

here is one of the pieces i embroidered using a piece of linen for the base, vintage millinery stems, and dyed wool and cotton embroidery threads. a blossom passing fair....
  here we are with our graduate, love to her and happy june all, julie
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